German storage subsidy program to expire in 2016

Since May 2013, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economics has supported the KfW-storage program, to incentivize distributed battery storage. The German government’s scientific advisory, the RWTH Aachen, has recommended that the program be extended, with minor technical adjustments. However the Federal Ministry of Economics has ignored this recommendation and will allow the program to expire at the end of the year.

The Federal Ministry of Economics informed pv magazine of this decision today. The statement from the ministry reads in part:

"The aim of the program was to push the market development of stationary battery storage systems, to accelerate their technology development, and to reduce costs to make the PV+battery storage more interesting to consumers. This objective has been achieved. The program’s first Monitoring Report in July was the first sign that these objectives were being met," the statement reads.

Prices for lead-acid batteries for stationary storage have fallen 11% over the last 12 months, and for lithium-ion batteries by 18%. These price reductions are in line with the typical technology learning curve, which posits that with every doubling of production volume, prices fall by between 10-20%.

As of March, 17,000 storage systems have been installed alongside PV arrays in Germany, according to information provided Federal Ministry of Economics. Since May 2013, 13,600 storage systems have received funding under the KfW-storage subsidy program.

The German Solar Industry Association (BSW-Solar) recently called for the extension of the KfW-storage promotion for a further three years. The association and a number of solar companies have expressed disappointment with the government decision to terminate the program.